Mercedes' imposing S-Class slotted neatly between BMW's 7-series and the Bentley Brooklands. As it competed with the compact C-Class and midsize E-Class, Mercedes created a broad range of S-Class models out of one basic platform by the use of different engines and trim levels.
|350SD||300SD||S350D 4DR Sedan||N/A||1995|
|300SE||300SE||S320 4DR Sedan||1999|
|420SEL||400SE||400SEL||S420 4DR Sedan|
|560SEL||500SEL||S500 4DR Sedan||2006|
|560SEC||N/A||500SEC||S500 2DR Coupe||CL500 2DR Coupe|
|N/A||600SEL||S600 4DR Sedan||Still current|
|N/A||600SEC||S600 2DR Coupe||CL600 2DR Coupe||2014|
Before the 1990s generation of the S-Class, the '80s generation had differently named models: 300SE, 300SEL, 350SD, 350SDL, 420SEL, 560SEC and 560SEL.
The base S-Class sedan was available with either a 3.5-liter 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel (300SD) or a 3.2-liter dohc gasoline Six (300SE). This was the same gas engine from the midsize E300. Also, the 400SE and 500SEL shared V8s with E-Class cars (the E400 and E500). The turbodiesel, in fact, was the only engine unique to the S-Class. The mighty 6.0-liter V12 of the 600SEL was also found in the SL600.
A 2-door coupe on a shortened sedan chassis was added in 1993, and was available either as a 500SEC V8 or 600SEC V12. It was unveiled at the 1992 North American International Auto Show on January 9, 1992 and went on sale on October 13, 1992.
On the other hand, the 400SE was now known as the 400SEL.
Most of the S-Class's entire lineup was renamed. The 300SE was now the S320, the 300SD now as the S350D, the 400SEL as the S420, the 500SEC and 500SEL now just as the S500, and the 600SEC and 600SEL now just as the S600.
Despite sharing engines with smaller Mercedes, the S-Class had a feeling all its own. Though it was no longer than other full-size luxury sedans, the S weighed 2 1/2 tons, which made it feel big. Handling and braking were superb, however, and acceleration, at least with the two biggest engines, was startling for such massive machines. As expected, there was a dazzling list of standard features, including such things as traction control, thermo-pane window glass, 12-way power seats with three memory settings, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, power door latches, infrared remote door locks, a built-in antitheft system and, on the S500 and S600, a cellular phone.
Except for the two V12 models (the S600s), prices on S-Class models have been reduced by nearly $5000 to $8000 compared to the 1994 models. They went on sale in June 1994.
As of September 22, 1993:
- $130,300 (1994-1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 4DR Sedan)
- $133,300 (1994-1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 2DR Coupe)
As of May 24, 1994:
- $65,900 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S350D and S320 with long wheelbase)
- $73,900 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S420)
- $87,500 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S500 4DR Sedan)
- $91,900 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S500 2DR Coupe)
As of February 3, 1995:
- $62,700 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S320 with short wheelbase)